North America

Lose Newspapers and You Lose Your Democracy

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Without independent journalism, Trump and other charlatans will thrive. Eric Alterman The Nation I had a different column when I woke up on deadline day, but I wrote this one, not because any major news had broken—yes, the FBI raided the office of President Trump’s personal lawyer—but because our country and our democracy are in the midst of an ongoing emergency, and our embattled media is unable or unwilling to explain it. What inspired my switch was Politico’s publication of ... Read More »

Eight Big Questions on War and Peace for Mike Pompeo

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With a dizzying range of international crises and conflicts facing the U.S., the confirmation hearing of incoming Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday 12 April is a chance to gauge the administration’s future tack. Crisis Group’s U.S. Program Director Stephen Pomper identifies eight critical issues that are likely to dominate Pompeo’s incumbency and… Stephen Pomper ICG When Mike Pompeo sits down on 12 April before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, there will be plenty to talk about. Mr Pompeo has ... Read More »

Some German medicine for Trump

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As global stock markets have taken a tumble with recent pronouncements of a potential trade war between the U.S. and China, it is clear that investors bank on trade between the world’s two largest economies as vital to global… Alexis Crow The Washington Post As statements from the campaign trail snowball into larger declarations and potentially more tariffs, it is important to take a step back and examine a basic fact that seems to be overlooked. While much of the ... Read More »

Why North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses are Being Ignored

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Despite the reactions of the United States and South Korea to the North’s human-rights abuses, North Koreans are left behind. Min hee Jo, Quinn Marschik The National Interest Human rights form a pillar of most democratic countries’ foreign policies and play a major role in their international relations. When it comes to totalitarian North Korea, which is among the worst human-rights abusers in modern history, the United States and South Korea under the Trump and Moon administrations respectively have employed similar but ... Read More »

Will Bolton and Trump Start the First Sino-American War?

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When America launches a preemptive attack on North Korea, will the US find itself at war with China? This is not an idle question. Charles Pierson CounterPunch On Monday, the fiercest advocate of a preemptive attack on North Korea, John R. Bolton, joined the Trump Administration. Bolton, a former US Ambassador to the UN, replaces H. R. McMaster as President Donald Trump’s national security adviser. Bolton is the gold standard against which all other hawks are measured. Bolton pushed for ... Read More »

Can the U.S. Respond to the Syria Chemical Weapons Attack without Risking Escalation?

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After an apparent chemical weapons attack on a rebel-held Damascus suburb Saturday, the United States and its allies are considering retaliatory strikes against the Syrian government. Sam Heller ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sam Heller lays out the Douma attack’s impact and the repercussions of a possible new U.S.-led intervention. What do we know about the 7 April chemical weapons attack? On the evening of 7 April 2018, the rebel-held Damascus suburb of Douma was subjected to an apparent chemical ... Read More »

Beijing’s South China Sea Military Bases Now Have Jammers That Can Block American Radar and Communications, U.S. Claims

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United States officials claimed that China has installed military jamming equipment on fortified artificial islands in the South China Sea which will allow Beijing to block enemy radar and communications systems. David Brennan Newsweek This latest step in China’s militarization of its island bases signifies Beijing’s determination to assert its regional territorial claims, regardless of U.S. opposition. According to The Wall Street Journal, the jamming systems were installed within the last 90 days. The Journal quoted a U.S. Defense Department official who said ... Read More »

Less Than Meets the Eye

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The Russia-Turkish-Iran Axis If an alliance is forming between Ankara, Moscow, and Tehran, it’s a flimsy one at best. Dimitar Bechev The American Interest While the U.S. mulls how to calibrate its policy in response to the use of chemical weapons by Bashar al-Assad last week, a set of leaders are hoping that President Trump stays the course and decides to withdraw from Syria. The past week saw Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Vladimir Putin sharing the stage in Ankara ... Read More »

Europe Caught in the Middle as Trump Threatens China

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FRANKFURT — One is a good customer, a military ally and an old friend, although lately its behavior has been erratic. The other is also a good customer, and despite a few spats and some lingering mistrust, it’s getting to be a more lucrative and dependable business partner all the time. Jack Ewing The New York Times Which side would you choose? That more or less sums up the dilemma confronting Europe as it watches the escalating conflict between its ... Read More »

Putting Trump’s Trade Bombast to the Test

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President Trump’s recent threat to escalate his trade skirmish with China into a full-scale trade war is a foolish gambit with little historical precedent. Editorial Board The New York Times It is also hard to take seriously, given how quickly Mr. Trump changes his mind and how rarely and clumsily he tends to follow through on tough talk. Mr. Trump said on Thursday that he wants to slap tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports in response to Beijing’s plan ... Read More »

Could America’s Big Tech Industry Create Free Speech Problems?

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The courts or Congress should clarify that the legislation amends Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act cannot be used to restrict political speech. Mark Epstein The National Interest Last week, the Senate passed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act. The legislation amends Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which holds that online platforms cannot be responsible for their users’ content, to exclude sex trafficking. Big tech companies warned that the bill could inadvertently ... Read More »

Addressing the Migration Bottleneck in Southern Mexico

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Mexico is not doing “nothing” to curb northward migration, as U.S. President Donald Trump claims. Ivan Briscoe ICG In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Latin America & Caribbean Program Director Ivan Briscoe says Washington should help Mexico meet the challenge of migrant and refugee flows from Central America, which are now concentrated in its… What is the migration crisis in Mexico? Poverty and violence in the Northern Triangle of Central America (comprising El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) are forcing hundreds of ... Read More »

Why China prefers its own ideology to US-style democracy

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Western pundits, particularly those in the US, have it all wrong when they assume that allowing China into the global economic or trading system would eventually lead the country to become “one of us.” Ken Moak Asia Times The fact of the matter is that China has never wanted to  adopt Western democracy. In view of more than 80% popular support according to US-based Pew and Gallup Polls and China’s ability to deliver on most of its promises (such as improving ... Read More »

Russophobia in the New Cold War

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Several factors make this US-Russian Cold War more dangerous than its predecessor—is “Russo-madness” one of them? Stephen F. Cohen The Nation Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian Studies and Politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments, now in their fourth year, are at… Cohen has previously explained why the new Cold War is potentially even more dangerous than was its 40-year predecessor, citing factors such ... Read More »

How the message of Martin Luther King’s ‘dream’ got lost

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Martin Luther King Jnr cast an enormous shadow in my childhood. By Matter of Fact host Stan Grant ABC It was a presence that outlived his death — indeed his assassination added potency to his leadership of a black struggle that mirrored our own. This wasn’t the acceptable Dr King as Santa Claus — as one black scholar remarked this week — our Dr King was a man of righteous anger who spoke with moral urgency to an American nation ... Read More »

Space war is coming — and the U.S. is not ready

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‘We are now approaching a point where “Star Wars” is not just a movie,’ one government adviser warns. By BRYAN BENDER and JACQUELINE KLIMAS Politico War is coming to outer space, and the Pentagon warns it is not yet ready, following years of underinvesting while the military focused on a host of threats on Earth. Russia and China are years ahead of the United States in developing the means to destroy or disable satellites that the U.S. military depends on for everything from ... Read More »